Somatic Experiencing is a powerful and effective method used in the resolution of trauma. It helps restore balance to the mental, physical and emotional states suffered when human beings experience thwarted survival mechanisms when under threat.
Trauma is best described as a "system shock," an experience or an event that affects the human body manifesting in symptoms that can be neurological or physical. It is not a psychological problem, but a biological one. These symptoms affect the person physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They can last a life time when there is no intervention.
Because trauma is biological, the human body has the capability to heal its effects. Somatic Experiencing assists a person to complete the threat responses they would have made if they had been able at the time of the overwhelming event.
The body produces a large amount of energy when there is a threat. This energy becomes blocked via constriction, fear and overwhelm when the person is unable to complete fight or flight responses. A third possible response is called freeze. This is another choice made in an overwhelming situation as a last ditch survival effort. The energy that comes up in the nervous system due to the traumatic event becomes bound up with no way to discharge in the moment.
In these traumatic situations a person often dissociates from their body. SE helps a person reconnect with their body by witnessing and following their physical sensations. Healing can then take place when the nervous system readjusts.
It is important to not focus on the trauma or ones' thoughts because trauma fixates. The primary key to healing the trauma is to feel the sensations in the body and allow the defensive responses to complete. Bodily chemicals such as cortisol get boosted and will remain so unless the person completes the responses to the threat. Without this completion a person for example may be on hyper alert most of the time, experience dread and anxiety and/or a general avoidance of life.